Ninian, St.

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Early fifth-century apostle of Galloway, Scotland. Ninian, a Briton by birth, educated in the Roman rite and tradition ("regulariter" according to bede, Eccl. Hist. 3.4), preached to the southern Picts and built in Galloway, southwest Scotland, a church of stone, called the Candida casa, dedicated to St. martin of tours. His "converts among the Picts" were probably the "apostates" referred to in the letters of St. patrick (Epist. 2,15). His settlement, renamed Whithorn by the Anglo-Saxons, became a monastic center to which many Irish monks went for religious training in the sixth century. The inscription on his tomb, located at the Candida casa, was apparently interpreted in an anti-Celtic sense by Plechtelm, the first Anglo-Saxon bishop of Galloway, so that much of what Bede relates, including the dedication to St. Martin (not earlier than 500 according to P. Grosjean), is untrustworthy.

Feast: Sept. 16.

Bibliography: p. grosjean, "Les Pictes apostats dans l'Épître de S. Patrice," Analecta Bollandiana 76 (1958) 354378. j. macqueen, St. Nynia (London 1961). m. anderson, St. Ninian (London 1964). aelred, Saint Ninian, ed. i. macdonald (Edinburgh 1993). d. brooke, Wild Men and Holy Places: St. Ninian, Whithorn and the Medieval Realm of Galloway (Edinburgh 1994). p. hill, Whithorn and St. Ninian: The Excavation of a Monastic Town, 198491 (Stroud, Gloucestershire 1997).

[j. ryan]